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Christina Schmidhofer Photo by: Christina Schmidhofer

Lentil and Rice Pilaf

As a child in Syria, Sal Tompkins loved this meatless pilaf she calls mjadara. Petite French green lentils (also called Le Puy) keep their shape better than brown ones.

Prep and cook time: About 45 minutes

Sunset MARCH 2005

  • Yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings
  • Total:45 Minutes


  • 1 cup hulled small French green or brown lentils (see note above), sorted of debris and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped onions
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Yogurt sauce


1. In a 3-quart pan over high heat, bring lentils and 2 1/2 cups water to a boil. Cover and simmer until tender to bite, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain.

2. Meanwhile, add oil, onions, and garlic to a 12-inch frying pan over medium heat; stir often until onions are golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Add rice, salt, cumin, and pepper; stir until rice looks opaque, about 3 minutes.

3. Stir in lentils and 2 more cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender to bite and liquid is absorbed, 13 to 15 minutes. Serve with yogurt sauce.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 320
  • Calories from fat: 28%
  • Protein: 13g
  • Fat: 10g
  • Saturated fat: 1.7g
  • Carbohydrate: 45g
  • Fiber: 4.9g
  • Sodium: 517mg
  • Cholesterol: 2.3mg

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Lentil and Rice Pilaf recipe